Suspect in KU student’s death commits suicide while in New Jersey police custody

The suspect in the death of a 25-year-old Kansas University student has committed suicide while in police custody in New Jersey, according to Lawrence police.

Adolfo Garcia-Nunez, 46, was arrested Friday night in New Jersey, according to Lawrence Police Sgt. Paul Fellers. Fellers said in a news release Saturday afternoon that Garcia-Nunez committed suicide in custody.

Lawrence police traveled to Elizabeth, N.J., where Garcia-Nunez’s white Ford F-150 pickup was located unoccupied. Lawrence police received word Saturday morning that Garcia-Nunez took his own life.

“No further information will be available until our investigators return from New Jersey,” the release said.

Garcia-Nunez – a Lawrence artist who also went by the name Fito Garche – was suspected in the death of the student, Jana Lynne Mackey. Mackey was a second-year law student at KU from Hays.

Friday night, Lawrence police had issued an arrest warrant charging Garcia-Nunez with second-degree murder.

Mackey’s body was found late Thursday night in a home at 409 Mich., where Garcia-Nunez lived. Mackey and Garcia-Nunez had recently broken off a relationship.

After hearing of the arrest and apparent suicide, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and Law School Dean Gail Agrawal issued the following statements.

“The resolution of this tragedy leaves us all stunned. I hope that everyone will remain considerate of the needs of the family and friends of Jana Mackey during this terrible time,” Hemenway said. “I thank the Lawrence Police Department as well as other authorities for their efforts in the investigation.”

Agrawal said the law school community continues to be grief-stricken by Mackey’s death, and remains focused on getting through the tragedy together.

“While we are shocked at recent developments in the investigation, we remain focused on doing all we can to support her family and friends through this terrible time,” Agrawal said. “We are making every effort to inform our students, faculty and staff of available counseling and emotional support. Jana was strongly committed to social justice, and in her memory, we hope to inspire others to share her cause.”

According to police, about 4:30 p.m. Thursday one of Mackey’s friends reported her missing. About two hours later, Mackey’s vehicle was found in the parking lot of Lawrence Memorial Hospital. About 11:30 p.m. Thursday, her body was found inside Garcia-Nunez’s home, which is near the hospital.